Baltimore Orioles Corner Outfield: Internal Options


Mar 13, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Henry Urrutia (51) at bat against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the definitive word now that outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis will not be coming back to the Baltimore Orioles in 2014, who will be playing the corner outfield positions?

It would seem necessary to make some sort of move to secure a player with significant history and statistics. But that is not going to be either simple to do or inexpensive. It would likely call for giving up a piece of the future that the Orioles are not prone to want to move out of the system.

I have no more insight into this than anyone else, but I would not bet on the Orioles making any big moves. Possibly if something could be done that would involve, say, Bud Norris, who is already a bit expensive and will be a free agent after this season, that could be possible.

My guess is that any move will involve one or more of the marginal type of players in the category of a Delmon Young … and it might just be Delmon. The theory would be to gather around a number of players, present them all with a great open door, and see who walks through it with a breakout season in the vein of Steve Pearce.   

De Aza and Markakis have similar stats over the past 3 years? Really? Really.

At this point the number one player to inherit the biggest piece of the opportunity pie is Alejandro De Aza. Dan Duquette as much as said so this past week in remarks, commenting that De Aza’s numbers over the past three seasons are comparable to Nick Markakis.

I doubt that most O’s fans would believe such to be true and would have to see them …

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So it can be seen from these statistics that the players are not markedly different, just as DD has said. De Aza clearly has the better speed as is seen in the number of triples. He also had 63 stolen bases to only six for Markakis. However, De Aza struck out 375 times in this period, to a total of 211 for Nick. But overall, the stats are closer than what many might have believed without seeing them.

A concern for De Aza is that he does not hit lefties well at all, and this was particularly true this past season. Markakis was unusually adept at hitting both. But a starting job for De Aza would appear to be his to lose.


David Lough is also going to factor into this equation, and as always, Quintin Berry seems to get forgotten that he is on the 40-man roster (at least he is for now). Steve Pearce can play some outfield, though he may need to be the primary DH as things are currently constructed.

But how about some of these younger players who have had some success in the minor leagues? Most of them are seen as still a year off from ready to contribute, but could any of them step up now?

Among these would be Henry Urrutia – no longer actually a young fellow, as he had some time with the O’s in 2013 and hit .274, but with no power. He would need to recover from a difficult 2014 season with health issues, etc., as we have written about previously.

There is also the previous acquisition of David Hassan from the Red Sox organization. Beyond that, Orioles fans heard a lot this past year about the upward movement of Dariel Alvarez and Mike Yastrzemski through the minors.

What I thought would be interesting, since we are talking about replacing some of the lost numbers of Markakis, is to look at where these players compare to Nick’s minor league experience when he broke upon the scene in 2006 with a .291 average and 16 homers.

It is amazing to look back and see that Markakis has in fact never played a single game in his life at the AAA level. In his final minor league season in 2005, he played 94 games at A-level Frederick and only 33 games at AA Bowie. So perhaps it is unfair to compare some of these guys to a first-round draft pick with huge upside potential, but that’s what I’m going to do here …


Looking at the five names in the chart, the player with the least experience is Yastrzemski. Clearly he is going to need some more time. But after that, it is Markakis.

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The other three would comparatively look to be ready for a shot, and I think they are going to get it. Who will step up and take advantage of the opportunity?

So, including Young, we’ve talked about eight names. And I’ll bet anything that Nolan Reimold gets a minor league contract too. Yes, if Upton could be gotten at a reasonable price, that would be a better outfield situation … but, what would the price be?